Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Multidisciplinary Studies - Individualized Option, M.A.


Economics and Finance Department


Bruce L. Fisher, J.D., Visting Professor of Economics and Finance

Department Home page

First Reader

Keith M. Henderson, D.P.A., Professor of Political Science

Second Reader

Uma G. Gupta, Ph.D., Professor of Business


School districts in the Buffalo Metropolitan Area are very segregated by socioeconomic status which has resulted in very different educational outcomes for the region's students as measured by New York State assessment results at the 4th grade and 8th grade level in English Language Arts and Math. This study measured the correlation between average test score results for each school building in Erie County and the rate of low-income students in those schools. The multiple regression analysis performed controlled for race, percentage of students that had a disability, class size, and per-pupil expenditures by the district.

The study found that there was a strong negative correlation between test scores and the rate of low-income students in those schools. The average drop in score for a one percentage point increase in students that qualified for free and reduced price meals was about .3 points for 4th graders and about .2 points for 8th graders. The study also found that 100% of elementary schools in Erie County with fewer than 60% low-income students averaged a proficient score on the 2011 Math and ELA exams, while just 23% of schools with above 60% low-income students averaged a proficient score.

This study concluded that to improve educational outcomes in areas where poverty is heavily concentrated in schools, an approach that involves socioeconomic integration of the Buffalo Metropolitan Area schools is needed. Other metro areas have successfully implemented such policies and should be used as a model to develop a plan going forward for the Buffalo region.